February 2, 2008, Palm Desert, CA — In honor of Black History Month, throughout the month of February Time Warner Cable customers in the Coachella Valley, Morongo Valley and Banning have access to a series of special programs about the Underground Railroad and slavery in the United States.
During the 1800s, more than 100,000 enslaved people sought freedom through the Underground Railroad, a term used to describe the secret routes enslaved men, women and children took to gain their freedom. Those who escaped often obtained help and protection from people who acted as conductors and provided food and shelter along the way. Six of these “Freedom Stations” are featured in the special program series, which were created by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on Desert Cities on Demand, channel 110.
A special program about the John W. Anderson Slave Pen can also be viewed. Discovered in Kentucky, this structure served as a temporary stop for some of the human beings trafficked through a network of slave traders in the middle 19th century. The Slave Pen is now on display at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
1. Freedom Station 1: Cincinnati, OH
Located in a free state bordering the slaveholding state of Kentucky, and confederate state of Virginia, Cincinnati, OH was the passage to freedom for countless men, women, and children. As such, it was a hotbed for the clash of pro-slavery and abolitionist ideas. Scholars, local historians, and residents explore the people (Harriet Beecher Stowe), places (Lane Seminary), and events (Margaret Garner’s escape) that converged to make Cincinnati one of American history’s richest symbols of Freedom.
2. Freedom Station 2: Detroit, MI/Buxton, Ontario, Canada
Just a short distance from thriving Free Black communities located in Buxton, Ontario, Canada, Detroit grew in importance as a stop along the Underground Railroad during the mid-19th Century. Scholars, local historians, and residents explore the people (Residents of Buxton), places (Second Baptist Church), and events (Fugitive Slave Act) that caused Detroit/Buxton to become an international “battleground” for Freedom).
3. Freedom Station 3: Philadelphia, PA
From the time of the Revolutionary War, Philadelphia’s community of Free Blacks and patriots had been on the front lines of the struggle for Freedom. Scholars, local historians, and residents explore the people (William Still & Richard Allen), places (Belmont Mansion), and events (Fugitive Slave Act) that elevated Philadelphia to one of the most important cities in the international movement to abolish slavery.
4. Freedom Station 4: Oberlin, OH
Conceived as an integrated community southwest of Cleveland, Oberlin, OH became a major focus of the abolitionist movement in the United States during the mid-19th Century. Scholars, local historians, and residents explore the people (Lane Rebels), places (Oberlin College), and events (Oberlin-Wellington Rescue) that converged to make Oberlin both a thought leader, and active participant, in the early Freedom Movement.
5. Freedom Station 5: Ripley, OH
Located 50 miles southeast of Cincinnati, Ripley, OH’s position just across the Ohio River from the slave-holding state of Kentucky led to its renown as a stop along the Underground Railroad. Scholars, local historians, and residents explore the people (John Parker & John Rankin), places (Liberty Hill), and events (Eliza’s escape) that converged to make Ripley an iconic symbol of Freedom’s pursuit.
6. Freedom Station 6: Rochester, NY
Just south of Lake Ontario, Rochester, NY’s location near the international border made it one of the last stops along the Underground Railroad route many followed into Canada. Scholars, local historians, and residents explore the people (Frederick Douglass & Society of Friends), places (the Frederick Douglass home), and events that converged to make Rochester an important center along New York’s Freedom Trail.
About The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center:
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, celebrates the legacy of perseverance, courage and multicultural cooperation embodied in the dramatic saga of the Underground Railroad in the years leading up to the American Civil War. Of equal importance, the Freedom Center uses exhibits and programs to educate the public about the historic and continuing struggle to establish universal freedom in both the United States and around the world. Our Internet portal is www.freedomcenter.org.